City Migration Patterns:Data indicate that migration is not a major determinant of Aboriginal population growth in major Canadian cities and provinces. As the reserves have experienced net in-migration of First Nations since 1966, increase in the affiliation of individuals to Aboriginal identity due to the legal changes by the Bill C-31 and C-3, and natural growth have been the major contributors to Aboriginal population growth in cities. Small urban areas and rural areas have been losing Aboriginal population overall. The percentage of Aboriginal population residing in cities has increased due the changes in legal frameworks and natural growth.
Provincial Migration Patterns: Provincial migration is a small factor in the geographical distribution of Aboriginal population. However, there has been a clear trend among the Aboriginal peoples to move out of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec to Alberta between 2001-2006. Statistics Canada projection indicates that Alberta may become the second largest home to Aboriginal populations by the end of 2017, following Ontario. Particularly, the Métis have been moving primarily to Alberta from all other provinces. Projection indicates that growth in the Aboriginal population in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan may relegate British Columbia to the fourth largest position for hosting Aboriginal populations from its current second. Ontario is expected to remain as the largest home to the Aboriginal population until the projection period of 2017. Migration and Impact: International studies indicate that migration is positively correlated with well-being in the community of origin. Similarly, study findings strongly suggest that migration is positively correlated with Aboriginal well-being; particularly higher out-migration is correlated with higher education and income among the First Nations in Canada. Since First Nations have
had net in-migration to the reserves since the 1960s, the paper examines such trends by focusing on the relative economic incentives between on-reserve and off-reserve locations. Policy Recommendation: The paper recognizes that the current balance between on-reserve and off-reserve economic incentives may need to be adjusted for the greater well-being of First Nations. In order to offset the gap in economic incentives between on and off-reserve locations, the paper recommends a tax credit to off-reserve First Nations members for investing in the reserves. The credit may generate additional capital for economic growth in the reserves on the one hand, and offset any gap in economic incentives between on and off-reserve
locations on the other. Such a credit may transform the growing urban Aboriginal
population as a source of opportunities for the on-reserve communities and increase
economic growth in the reserves that may allow the band councils to initiate taxation in the reserves in the long run.